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Westlake Center tree lighting marks return to big holiday events

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This story was originally published by KING 5 on Nov. 26, 2021.

The annual tree lighting felt “almost normal” to some in attendance eager to kick off the holiday season.

SEATTLE — A crowd forming outside Westlake Center is a reminder to some of how uncommon large-scale events have become.

“A year ago nobody was coming out, there weren’t that many holiday gatherings and just to see that again this year was really special,” said mom Christy Mast.

The day after Thanksgiving rain held off long enough to mark an annual tradition: The holiday star and tree lighting, part of the Downtown Seattle Association’s push to bring holiday shoppers into the city.

“This is one of those unique downtown holiday experiences. That you only get right here,” said James Sido of the Downtown Seattle Association.

“I think you look around downtown on the weekends and you see a lot of foot traffic. You see a lot of energy and things really feel great,” Sido continued.

To date, the Downtown Seattle Association estimates some 75 percent of street-level businesses open before the pandemic have reopened — a sign that the city and its stores are in fact coming back.

“It feels nice, this feels almost normal. The lights and the ornaments and they’re going to do the Christmas lighting and you see people out on the streets and they’re walking around, it’s really refreshing to see everyone out,” Mast said.